Bugatti stuck with unsold Veyron Grand Sports

Plus this week’s other motoring news

Bugatti Veyron: even with the €1 million-plus price tag, VW loses at least €2 million on each one sold

Bugatti Veyron: even with the €1 million-plus price tag, VW loses at least €2 million on each one sold

Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 01:00

Bugatti has been either a roaring success or a crashing failure for Volkswagen.

From a technical point of view it has been good. In spite of the colossally high targets set by VW boss Ferdinand Piëch, Bugatti’s engineers managed to create the Veyron, a 1,000hp car that could top 400km/h yet be as easy to drive and as reliable as a Golf.

But from a sales and finance point of view it has been pretty terrible. Even with the Veyron’s €1 million-plus price tag, VW loses at least €2 million on each one sold, the loss written off in the interests of engineering research.

And now, as the Veyron reaches the end of its life, Bugatti is struggling with unsold stock. An all-new model is reportedly being planned, but first the Molsheim factory must sell 40 or so Grand Sport models (below) worth a reported €62 million – a loss, presumably, of €124 million when they’re gone – according to Bloomberg.

Bugatti is embarking on its version of an open weekend: the Dynamic Driving Experience, which will tour the US to drum up interest by allowing wealthy potential buyers to unleash the Veyron’s staggering power on airfield circuits.

Even if a new Bugatti is given the go-ahead, it will have the huge task of taking on such new opposition as the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari.


New Scirocco blows in
Volkswagen has updated its slow-selling Scirocco coupé ahead of a debut for the refreshed model at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.

Still based on the fifth-generation Golf chassis, the Scirocco gets new lights, bumpers and grille, new tail lights and a boot release built into the VW badge at the back. The colour palette has been extended beyond the traditional greys and blues to include metallic violet and burnished gold. Nice.

Inside are a new instrument panel (lifted from the current Golf GTI), a new steering wheel and, in homage to the 1974 mark-1 Scirocco, an extra panel of gauges featuring dials for turbo boost pressure and oil temperature, plus a Porsche-style stopwatch.

Enginewise, the Scirocco is updated with a new 123hp 1.4-litre turbo petrol and three flavours of 2.0-litre turbo petrol: 210hp and 230hp versions lifted from the Golf GTI and a range-topping Scirocco R with the 280hp engine from the new Seat Leon Cupra.

There are now also two 2.0-litre diesel models: a 150hp version that emits 107g/km and a 180hp version that emits 125g/km.

All engines now come with standard stop-start and brake-energy recuperation.


Dubai to ban ‘poor drivers’
The emirate of Dubai is planning a controversial measure to curb its growing traffic problems. If reports coming from the Middle East are to be believed, the plan involves a means test for car ownership, with the less well off being banned driving at rush hour – and perhaps even from owning a car altogether.

Hussain Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, told a Dubai newspaper, the ‘National’, that “a salary-limit scheme that would restrict car ownership to those earning above a certain monthly income is among the options on the table. Everybody has their luxury life, but the capacity of our roads cannot take all of these cars without ownership laws.”

Dubai is also said to be considering more traditional traffic-control measures, such as toll roads, more expensive parking and an insurance levy. The emirate is also scrambling to improve its public transport, and has this week begun testing a new light-rail system.


French brands going chic and small for Geneva Motor Show
Renault and Peugeot will both unveil their new smallest models at the Geneva Motor Show next month, with Peugeot taking a conventional route while Renault swings for the boundary with a groundbreaking new car.

The Peugeot 108 (right, bottom), a direct replacement for the 107, will again share parts with, and be built in the Czech Republic alongside, the next generations of the Citroën C1 and the Toyota Aygo. As is becoming common with small cars, they will have no diesel option – diesel engines are now officially too expensive for city cars – and instead will launch with a range of naturally aspirated 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrols. The most affordable, 68hp version has carbon emissions of 97g/km, but an eco version, called e-VTI, brings that down to 88g/km.

Inside, Peugeot is going for a more upmarket flavour than the 107 had, with a touch screen as standard on all but the base model and sophisticated software that will allow the car to connect with Apple, Android, Windows and BlackBerry smartphones. Also optional will be a full-length fabric roof that can be retracted in stages (and that Peugeot will tout as making the car a convertible).

Across the hall at Renault, things are looking rather more radical in the shape of the new Twingo (left, top). The original monospace Twingo revolutionised the small, cheap car market a decade and a half ago. Now its descendant looks set to do the same.

Quite apart from the striking exterior design (courtesy of Renault design director Laurens van den Acker), the Twingo adopts a drivetrain not seen on a mainstream European car since the VW Beetle went out of production: its rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout is a configuration Renault had great success with in models such as the 8 and Dauphine.

That’s thanks to Renault’s development agreement with Mercedes-Benz, which means the Twingo sits on the same platform as the next generation of Smart ForTwo and ForFour models.

The engine is a three-cylinder petrol (with and without turbo) that lies on its side and sits between the rear wheels. The gearbox can be either a conventional manual or a new dual-clutch automatic.

Renault claims it has found an innovative way to replace the luggage space lost by mounting the engine at the back and that one huge advantage is agility; the Twingo is said to out-turn a London taxi.

Dubai planning controversial ‘no poor drivers’ rule

The emirate of Dubai is planning a controversial new measure to curb its growing traffic problems. If reports coming from the Middle East are to be believed then the plan involves a means-test for car ownership, with the less well off being banned either from owning a car altogether or at the very least being prevented from driving at peak times.

Hussain Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality told Dubai newspaper The National that “a salary limit scheme that would restrict car ownership to those earning above a certain monthly income is among the options on the table. Everybody has their luxury life, but the capacity of our roads cannot take all of these cars without ownership laws.”

The Dubai authorities are also said to be considering rather more traditional traffic control measures, such as toll roads, increased parking rates and a levy on insurance. The emirate is also scrambling to improve its public transport network, and has this week begun testing a new light rail system.

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Bugatti stuck with unsold cars

Bugatti has been either a roaring success or a crashing failure for VW, depending on your point of view. From a technical point of view, it’s been good; in spite of being set colossally high targets by VW boss Ferdinand Piech, Bugatti’s small team of engineers managed to create the Veyron; a genuine 1,000hp car that could top 400kmh in its ultimate version, yet which could be as easy to drive and as reliable as a Golf. From a sales and finance point of view though, it has been pretty terrible. Even with the Veyron’s €1-million+ price tag, VW loses at least €2-million on every car sold, with the loss written off in the interests of engineering research.

In spite of its collectors’ item status though, Bugatti is currently struggling with unsold stock as it reaches the end of the Veyron’s life. An all-new model is being planned, but according to Bloomberg News, first the Molsheim factory must first sell around 40 Gran Sport models which are worth a reported €62-million. Presumably that means a loss of €124-million when they’re gone, but nonetheless Bugatti is embarking on its version of an Open Weekend - the Dynamic Driving Experience which will tour the United States to drum up interest among wealthy buyers by allowing them to unleash the Veyron’s staggering power on airfield circuits under the watchful eyes of professional instructors.

As for the Veyron’s successor, it’s a case of hurry up an wait. “I wouldn’t expect an announcement for a couple years down the road” John Hill, Bugatti Sales Director for the Americas, told Bloomberg. Even if a new Bugatti is given the go-ahead, it will have the mammoth task of taking on such new opposition as the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari.

*************************************************

New Scirocco blows in

Volkswagen has updated its slow-selling Scirocco coupe ahead of a debut for the refreshed model at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. Still based on the fifth-generation Golf chassis, the Scirocco gets new lights, bumpers and grille, new tail lights and a boot release built in the VW badge at the back. The colour palette has been expanded beyond the traditional greys and blues to include metallic violet and burnished gold. Nice.

Inside there;s a new instrument panel (lifted straight from the current Golf GTI), a new steering wheel and, in homage to the 1974 MK1 Scirocco, an extra panel of gauges featuring dials for turbo boost pressure, oil temperature and a Porsche-style stopwatch.

Engine-wise the Scirocco gets updated with a new 123hp 1.4-litre turbo petrol and three flavours of 2.0-litre turbo petrol; 210 and 230hp versions lifted from the Golf GTI and a range-topping Scirocco R with the 280hp engine from the new Seat Leon Cupra. There are now also two 2.0-litre diesel models; a 150hp version that emits 107g/km and a 180hp version that emits 125g/km. All engines now come with standard stop-start and brake energy recuperation.

*************************************************

French brands going chic ‘n’ small for Geneva

Both Renault and Peugeot will give their new smallest models public unveilings at the Geneva Motor Show, with Peugeot taking a conventional route while Renault swings for the boundary with a ground-breaking new car.

The Peugeot 108 is a direct replacement for the existing 107 and once again will share parts and be built in the Czech Republic alongside the next-generations of Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo. As is becoming common amongst small cars, there will be no diesel option (diesel engines are now officially too expensive for city cars) and instead will launch with a range of naturally-aspirated 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrols. The most affordable 68hp version has Co2 emissions of 97g/km but there’s an eco version called e-VTI which brings that down to 88g/km.

Inside Peugeot is going for a more upmarket flavour than the 107 had with a touchscreen standard on all but the base model and sophisticated software that will allow the car to seamlessly connect with both Apple and Android smartphones as well as phones running Windows and Blackberry operating systems. Also optional will be a full-length fabric roof that can be retracted in stages and which Peugeot will tout as being a convertible.

Across the hall at Renault, things are looking rather more radical in the shape of the new Twingo. The original monospace Twingo revolutionised the small, cheap car market a decade and a half ago, and now its descendant looks set to do the same again. Quite apart from the striking exterior design (courtesy of Renault design director Laurens Van Der Acker) the Twingo adopts a drivetrain not seen on a mainstream European car since the VW Beetle went out of production - it’s rear-engined and rear wheel drive a layout Renault once upon a time had great success with in models such as the 8 and Dauphine.

That’s thanks to Renault’s co-development agreement with Mercedes-Benz which means that the Twingo sits on the same platform as the next-generation of Smart ForTwo and ForFour models. The engine is a three-cylinder petrol (with and without turbo) that lies on its side and sits between the rear wheels. The gearbox can be either a conventional manual or a new dual-clutch automatic. Renault claims that it has found innovative solutions to replace the luggage space lost by mounting the engine at the back and that one huge advantage is agility; the Twingo is said to be able to out-turn a London Taxi.

And just to really whet our appetites, Renault has confirmed that sporty RenaultSport and Gordini models will be created.

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